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Console Wars Audiobook

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation

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Publisher's Summary

A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video-game industry.

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video-game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a former Mattel executive who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat, and bold ideas of his renegade employees, completely transformed Sega and led to a ruthless, David-and-Goliath showdown with Nintendo. Little did he realize that Sega's success would create many new enemies and, most important, make Nintendo stronger than ever.

The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and school yards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the United States against Japan.

Based on more than 200 interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the tale of how Tom Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punch line into a market leader. Blake J. Harris brings into focus the warriors, the strategies, and the battles and explores how they transformed popular culture forever. Ultimately, Console Wars is the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, give birth to a $60 billion industry.

©2014 Blake J. Harris (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (1521 )
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Performance
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  •  
    nathan branham 01-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "biography of a salesmen"

    came for a history lesson of the 8-16 bit Era, main focus was selling a brand and emphasis on sales techniques and unrealistic life stories of people at the top

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Tetrault 01-06-17 Member Since 2016
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    6
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    "very insightful "

    if you have ever wondered about the great battle the wages in the console wars this book is a great lesson in history that rings true even to this day. if your a fan of video games this is a great venue for it roots, if not its still a superb lesson in marketing and management there is something here for everyone. this book was insightful, funny, educational, and above all else a good time. if your a fan of video games you owe it to yourself to give this book a read, perfect scores.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate505 Lakewood, Colorado USA 12-29-16
    Nate505 Lakewood, Colorado USA 12-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent, A Facsinating Tale"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Perhaps if the friend has no interest in video games I wouldn't, but even then there is a corporate warfare that transcends the product here. That being said, since I was 10-16 when all this was going on, and owned an NES before I became a Genesis convert, this was all very interesting to me. For any other Gen Xers like me (not that I like that term, but it is what it is) it's well worth the listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The attention to detail was great. The author did his research very well, and really got stories and interviews from all different angles. He really put them into a narrative form well.


    What does Fred Berman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He did many different voices. I wouldn't call them amazing, and the one guy from Sega who left to New York had a really annoying voice, but on the other hand the voices did give me an audio clue on to who was talking, and that was very helpful since I really wasn't good at remembering all the different names.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really, but it was very interesting. An inside look into the cut throat corporate world. This is more a book about corporate politics than video games, though it's still a book about video games.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob_W 12-17-16
    Bob_W 12-17-16

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Great book...great audio book!"

    I recommend this book to any video game fan, especially those who live through the console wars of the 90s. It provides a great perspective on what occurred during that time..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    trystan 12-11-16
    trystan 12-11-16
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    "Great story, jumps around a little though."

    The narrator was good overall although some of the character attempts were terrible and really put me off in points. Very detailed background with a lot of effort obviously put into to the research.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walker Dodson 11-30-16
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    "Great story....but a bit Sega heavy."

    The book itself was great. the story leaned more toward Sega, but painted a detailed picture of how Sega came into fruition. the narrator was the best part about this book. He had a way of keeping my attention the whole time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abe 11-23-16
    Abe 11-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    "WOWSER!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Console Wars to be better than the print version?

    Growing up in the era made this book so much more enjoyable! I highly recommend this audio book. The narrator was fantastic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Hatfield 11-17-16
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    "Poorly written and clearly no fact checking."

    Very poorly written. It felt like a high school paper and the author was struggling to meet the word quota.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maverik11 11-15-16
    maverik11 11-15-16 Member Since 2016

    mav

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    "Fascinating"

    This fascinating story is well written and exciting to listen to. The narrator is absolutely excellent. He makes you feel like you personally were there and know each person ob the book!

    I can only recommend it to anyone who is interested in video games

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoffrey Farinha 11-02-16
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    "Fantastic retelling and an even better narration."

    Fantastic retelling and an even better narration. If you grew up in the era or are a video game fan, then I highly recommend this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Olaf
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    12/17/15
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    Story
    "Fascinating story"

    Moves at a fast pace. I enjoyed it. Few up with the consoles as a kid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. L. M. Crosdale
    UK, Essex
    5/26/15
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    "brilliant and well worth a listen."

    well worth the credits/money. Brilliantly performed and overall a great listen, not sure I'll find any more better than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    Luton, United Kingdom
    1/30/15
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    Story
    "Not as poorly told as some would have you think"

    An insightful account of politics and history of the men who helped to build the video gaming generation and the tales that brought us to the point we are at today. Listening to this book it is easy to understand why the video game industry is only at the point it is now and that things are frankly not more advanced. It's because of men like the ones portrayed in this book that we are only yet to receive a consumer version of Virtual Reality, and this book and the story it tells, explains why we are at the level we are...
    The narrater him self is adept with an excellent array of voices for each of the characters. The style of this book is completely designed to lend it self to a movie rather then a documentary, and thats a good thing as there are other books and videos out there which will give you the documentary style if you want it. A lot of people have spoken out against the script, and while I understand what they mean, I have worked with business men who speak exactly like this. Business men who speak in overly 'cool' ways with no real substance to what they say, but unfortunately this seems to be the way of the business world. If anything the script is quick to get to the point, but if it were drawn out it would take ten years to read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Phil
    1/24/15
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    "Ruined by the cheesey Americano style"

    This is just like a big greasy burger from an American diner, with extra cheese, and nothing but a big milk shake to wash it down. Initially that sounds great, but about half way through it you've had enough, and you realise why there is a problem with obesity in the United States.

    I was very curious about the Sega/Nintendo days of the early nineties. Listen to this - which is hopelessly biased against Nintendo by the way - and I'm sure you won't get more than half of the story.

    The lack of objectivity irritates after a while. This is purely for the Mega Drive crowd out there. I owned both (Mega Drive and SNES) - and further more over time I owned both the Gameboy and the Gamegear (the latter was hopeless because of the battery issues).

    Read this and you would like to think that it was Nintendo, and not Sega, that tanked immediately in the face of the Sony Playstation, and didn't even live to see the entry of Microsoft into the market.

    The dialogue between the central characters is so contrived that it couldn't possibly have happened. This is a fictionalised retelling of events that portrays the executives as American style hip shooting, fast talkers who riff with each other verbally. It is like watching an episode of 'Suits' or something as equally awful.

    So it is very very sickly.

    Plus the narrative performance is so incredibly American that you can only take so much. I think that there are any number of great American narrators - but this voice has everything that makes you want to switch it off. It is all incredibly smug.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adam
    Histon, United Kingdom
    1/18/15
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    Story
    "Wonderful insight into a battle of a generation"

    As someone who grew up while the battle between Sega and Nintendo was on full force, this book gives a wonderful picture of what was going on behind the scenes to win the hearts and minds of my generation.

    The stories form an incredibly engaging narrative and I enjoyed this immensely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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